NBA playoffs

Masterclass: Wolves swarm champion Nuggets for stunning 26-point rout, 2-0 series lead


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Masterclass: Wolves swarm champion Nuggets for stunning 26-point rout, 2-0 series lead

GOING TO TOWNS. Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) reacts towards the Denver Nuggets bench after a play in the second quarter during game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

With star center Rudy Gobert out for the birth of his first child, the undefeated Minnesota Timberwolves turn to Karl-Anthony Towns for a stunning 106-80 burial of the Denver Nuggets

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, Anthony Edwards also had 27 points and the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Denver Nuggets 106-80 on Monday (Tuesday, May 7, Manila time) to take a 2-0 lead in a Western Conference semifinal series.

Minnesota won without center Rudy Gobert, who was away from the team for the birth of his first child. The Timberwolves, holding a decisive edge on the reigning NBA champions, head back to Minneapolis for Game 3 of the best-of-seven series on Friday.

Even without Gobert, a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, the Timberwolves held Denver to a season low in points. Jamal Murray scored eight points on 3-for-18 shooting but had a career-high 13 rebounds, and Nikola Jokic finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds.

Aaron Gordon led the Nuggets with 20 points, and Justin Holiday had 13 off the bench. Reggie Jackson left the game in the fourth quarter due to an apparent injury.

Naz Reid and Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 14 points each for the Timberwolves, who have started the playoffs with six straight wins.

Minnesota looked smooth on offense, led by Towns scoring 20 points in the first half and the team shooting 54.5 percent before the break. The Timberwolves used a dominant run spanning the first and second quarters to take control.

Leading 18-17, the Timberwolves outscored Denver 24-5 to lead by 20 after a Reid 3-pointer with 8:05 left in the half. The Nuggets got it within 43-28, but Minnesota had a strong finish to the second quarter to lead 61-35 at halftime.

Denver continued to struggle in the third quarter and the Timberwolves took advantage, leading by as much as 32 on Alexander-Walker’s 3-pointer with 7:20 left in the period.

The Nuggets found some offensive rhythm late in the third to cut it to 82-60 heading into the fourth.

Jackson opened the final quarter with a 3-pointer to slice the deficit to 19, but Denver then missed a pair from deep. Towns made a pair of free throws and Alexander-Walker soon hit his fourth 3-pointer to make it 87-65 with 9:18 left.

Another burst pushed the gap to 97-72 as Minnesota closed it out. –

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